It is fashionable for political parties to say that the key issue in the election is “Development”. “Sabke Saath and Sabke Vikas” has been the slogan of BJP. It is politically considered as incorrect if there is any deviation from this central theme.
However, every election will have more than one reason for the voter to decide and he has to make the tough choice of chosing a party or a candidate and live with them for the rest of the term. Every candidate and party has both positive and negative features and ultimately the voter has to arrive at a collective estimation of which party or candidate is better suited to be the MLA.
A party is reflected by its leader and often the voter has no choice but to frame his views on a party based on its leader.
In this context all the three major parties in Karnataka have at least two leaders reflecting the policies of the party. BJP has Mr Modi (NaMo) and Mr Yeddyurappa (Yeddy). Congress has Rahul Gandhi (RG) and Siddaramaiah (Siddu)and JDS has Devegoweda and H D Kumaraswamy (HDK). In each of these teams, one is the read driver of the party while the other is a probable CM candidate.
In the JDS the past has indicated that HDK and Deve Gowda have held independent views and once HDK joined hands with BJP and later at the instance of Mr Deve Gowda dumped them midway. Voters are some what confused whether they should take either HDK seriously or Mr Deve Gowda seriously. In the bargain the local candidates of JDS seem to be more prominent than the leaders for the voters to decide.
Siddaramaiah is the incumbent CM and is responsible for the development of the State in the last 5 years whether good or bad. Yeddy has a tainted past but is a much chastised leader now than he ever was and NaMo is the real driver behind BJP.
People in Karnataka will vote for or against BJP only because of Mr NaMo and Mr Yeddy and the local candidates are of much lower significance. In the Congress, Siddu is a major factor and RG is only a media face. People will vote for or against Congress because of Siddu and not RG.
The major battle is therefore between Mr NaMo and Mr Siddu. Others are only supporting actors.